Chipping Frozen Manure and Other Pony Tales

Pocket knife. Carhartt. Wool socks. Thermal long johns. PVC knee boots. Belt buckle. Sports bra. Tiny yellow children’s work gloves. Layers, layers, layers. On, instead of off. I’m hairy and no one will know.

It’s 8am, and I’m downing a double protein shake and making my lunch to take to work. I picked up a second job at a stable, as a farmhand. It’s bitterly cold, 1°(F). We start late today to catch all the warmth we can at 8:45.

Daydwelling. Daytime. Day people.

I can’t yet stand being in stilettos for more than a few minutes at a time, and even if I could, my life is sort of boring. Lately, my days are filled with endless episodes of House and tapping my fingers on the keyboard, trying to find entertainment in something. It wouldn’t end when I start dancing again — I know the evenings and long, late nights can get boring. It’s harder and harder to entertain myself after years of entertaining others. Many friends have fallen away, eaten alive by Desk Jobs and Daydwelling and Marriage and Kids.

With my foot being screwed up and money coming out of my savings just before taxes, I don’t have any fun half- or full marathons to train for, now, and fill my days. I put in three miles, here and there, but the excitement of training and racing is over. Time to be a grown-up. Time to pay my tax debt, save for a car before mine breaks, and pay off lingering student loans before I’m forced into some other career and can’t afford any of it.

Time to buckle down.

For what, I don’t know. To get by for a few more years.

I worked for about four hours today, and the air heated to a balmy 17°(F). Turn horses out, muck stalls, fill buckets, sweep, feed, throw hay bales in the loft, bring horses in. There’s a few that have been allowed pretty poor manners. There’s a sweet, chestnut four-year-old Thoroughbred mare that the owner wants to train up and doesn’t have time for any more. I think she and I will become good friends in the coming weeks.

It’s been a long time since I’ve smelled the sweetness of shavings and manure and mixed hay and leather in crisp air.

The job pays a base salary of $250/week for about 25-30 hours of work — industry standard, for the most part — which is a laughably low proportion of my bills. It covers the amount of gluten-free food I eat in a week, to be precise, and nothing else. I needed something to fill my time, though, and rather than waste time hating working in restaurants again, I found something I like to do. Six days a week. It is money, and it’s money I don’t have to make shaking my ass. I can fall inward, a little, instead of letting it out by smashing people over the head with stilettos.

Ponies are the best therapists, anyway. I’m sick of being everyone else’s therapist. I’ve had a month off, and I’m still burnt out. I’ve probably been sort of burnt out for a year, on and off. But what do I do? The only thing that pays the bills is stuffing them in my garter. Lately, I’ve lost almost all of my regulars to another girl out to find the bottom of the well for herself and screw over anyone in her way. I keep giving her chances, tempered with hesitancy to trust her, after a long history of an explosive on-and-off friendship. The money at the club has taken a nosedive over the past few months, despite winter being our best season. I have no useful job skills to land a position that would pay well enough to give up even working less than two days a week at the club, and a work history that includes stripping for the past four years. I have 95% of an associate’s degree in a field I don’t want to work in and a field that pays very poorly.

It buys me a few more years of staying afloat. It’s something for my sanity, a cure for my boredom, work to tire my restless brain, and a small solution to slowing down my backwards cash flow problem from my savings. It’s four-legged friends to sing to in the morning rain and pat on the rump before sending into the sun. It’s some sense of stability that I’ve been craving.

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~ by The Stiletto-Shod One on February 20, 2013.

One Response to “Chipping Frozen Manure and Other Pony Tales”

  1. Sorry to hear that miss.

    But I am glad you got to spend time with the horses and things you love.

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